The Shake – Kick It

The Shake
Kick It

Some bands like to drop everything in their respective lives to cut an album together. Others choose to continue their ordinary, everyday lives and prefer to leave the rehearsing, performing and in turn, recording, on the side. This can have several effects in both positive and negative manners. With The Shake — a snappy, eccentric quartet from New York City — they have chosen to continue their studies in school while doing the “band gig” on the side. On their debut, Kick It, the band offers some catchy, solid garage rock, very reminiscent of the 60’s.

Songs like “Princes & Kings” (an obvious Kinks homage) and “Manic Boogie” deliver some involved guitar work that is equally riveting and up-tempo. John Merkin and Eliad Shapiro are childhood friends that formed the band together. They then recruited Jeremy Stein and Andrew McNellis into the band. They pride themselves on declaring that each member brings something unique and different, in terms of music, to the table but you would never be able to tell by the sound of this short (Eight songs — with one bonus track — at 27 minutes and change) debut.

This is rock at its most basic and purest form. The guitars scratch and bite with ferocity, the drums kick and jump with energetic fills, the bass is loopy and peculiar and the singing is abrasive, in your face and aggressive. The opener, “Frequency,” is a token example of this, complete with its dramatic beginning of contrary motion chords, menacing guitar line and vocal harmonization. After this drastic introduction, the band kicks in to a fierce, jagged song that delivers on all cylinders.

One of the drawbacks on here is that you have to wonder what they could have crafted if they focused only on the music. They are certainly a talented set of musicians and as a separate entity, some things are left desired. “Outcasts” with its The Clash guitar intro certainly starts off well but ultimately, the rest of the band comes in too late in the song. When they do jump in, its marriage is clever but the song is lost. This is minimal because the next song, “8 O’clock,” features some terrific keyboard playing by Shapiro as he covers everything from jazzy improv to classical lineage; it makes the entire song so much better.

This is definitely a band to be on the lookout for because they certainly have the musicianship, influences and a radio-ready, hit single in “Let Me Take You Far Away” ready for the taking. The aforementioned song is a true treat because the band encompasses all of their strengths — harmonization, good keyboard work, quirky guitar playing — to create a song that is simply awaiting the mainstream. And with Kick It, The Shake certainly have a great beginning to their career.